CD REVIEWS ISSUE 12 Page 1
By Bob Nalbandian
SYSTEM OF A DOWN
I was actually planning on reviewing both the Mezmerize CD and their forthcoming Hypnotize CD as one review but I couldn't wait another month for the release of Hypnotize so here it is, better late then never...System Of A Down is perhaps the most popular metal band on the scene today and for good reason, they are flat-out the best new band to come down the pike in the last decade. Many metal fans and critics have stated SOAD is just a fad that will die out just as Limp Bizkit and other hyped-up corporate bands have in recent years. These people obviously haven't given this band a fair listen; to compare this band to Limp Bizkit is like comparing Metallica to Poison. Admittedly, SOAD can get annoying at times, and at times they come off a bit corky, but there is no denying the musical genius and originality within this band. System Of A Down is the first metal band I've heard in years that are creating music that is totally unique and groundbreaking. They have taken metal music to new standards far beyond what any of the new rap/metal hybrids, Goth-metal or nu-metal bands have accomplished due to the fact that they are the only band of this genre that truly has its own identity...and longevity. Mezmerize is the band's fourth full-length release and they still perform with the same degree of integrity and creativity without duplicating themselves as so many other metal bands have done even after their second release, yet they haven't necessarily altered, commercialized nor 'softened' their sound like many groundbreaking bands in the '90s have done (i.e.: Soundgarden, Faith No More, Ministry and '80s icons Metallica). System Of A Down still deliver the same aggressive fury, bone-crushing riffs, and articulate (yet seemingly bizarre) lyrics as they did on their self-titled debut but what makes them so unique is the fact that they have progressed, continuously spewing out brilliant new ideas and melodies making them sound fresh and exciting. When listening to Mezmerize for the first time, you don't know what to expect from song to song. This is something that made classic rock bands like Zeppelin so unpredictably diverse. Another sign of greatness is the fact that the more you listen to Mezmerize the more it grows on you. I can go on forever with this review and I'm sure I'll once again get hate emails saying that I have my head up my ass for praising this band so much but in time these skeptics will realize that System Of A Down is simply the most original heavy metal band on the planet today. Just listen to "B.Y.O.B," "Cigaro," "Question," and the demented "Old School Hollywood" and tell me that I'm wrong.
Fused features one of the greatest pairs in heavy metal, Black Sabbath riff-meister-extraordinaire Tony Iommi and former Deep Purple bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes. This is actually the third album both Iommi and Hughes collaborated on together, the first being the Black Sabbath Featuring Tony Iommi album Seventh Star in '86 and last year's Sanctuary release of The 1996 DEP Sessions. Fused far surpasses these previous efforts, in fact this album is a contender for Best Metal Album of 2005. It's that good! The pair are joined by session drummer Kenny Aronoff and producer Bob Marlette who contributes keyboards and bass on select tracks. Iommi's patented pile-driving riffs are brilliantly complimented by the incredibly soulful voice of Glenn Hughes...this is what great heavy metal music is all about. What an incredible combination...extreme heaviness, soulful class, and great songs - all you young heavy metal wannabes take note! Every track on this CD is brilliant, and the production is flawless - so rich and heavy, with an incredible live ambiance that greatly enhances Iommi's monumental guitar tone (incredible drum mix as well!). And Glenn Hughes' vocals...holy f**k! This man's voice is a true gift, so unbelievably powerful yet so melodic and soulful. I've always been a huge fan of Hughes from his years in Purple on through his numerous solo albums. What an unbelievable talent, but I must say, it is so refreshing hearing him paired up with Iommi belting out powerful metal anthems! Don't get me wrong, I love Glenn's funk-fueled solo work but hearing his voice paired with the ultimate metal guitarist is like a true remedy...I haven't heard a metal guitar/vocal duo this powerful since Blackmore and Dio. "Dopamine", "Wasted Again," "Grace," "The Spell"...every song is a metal classic. You want to hear the real deal, buy this CD today.
Shockwaves CD REVIEWS ISSUE 12 Page 2